In honor of M. Night Shamylan’s new hit thriller Split, I have decided to review what many consider to be his worst film yet, The Last Airbender.
The Last Airbender has a plot that’s already been gift wrapped by the original source material, yet the finished product is a mangled mess. They introduce many, many different characters into the film and yet none of them are even slightly interesting. These characters are so bland that I actually found it humorous how boring they were. These are all the crowning achievements of The Last Airbender.
The Last Airbender takes place in a fictional land where the world is divided by those who can control ( or bend, as it is referred to) the elements of fire, water, air, and earth. One person who can master them all called the Avatar is born once every generation, and is in charge of keeping balance between these worlds. Recently the fire nation has began waging war against the other nations, with the Avatar nowhere to be found.
One day a boy named Sokka and his sister Katara, who are both members of the water tribe, stumble upon an iceberg containing the lost Avatar inside. They free him from the iceberg, and much talk of exposition ensues. They befriend the Avatar named Aang and travel with him to another water tribe so he can learn to bend all the elements and stop the war the fire nation is waging.
This film was originally based on a critically acclaimed Nickelodeon cartoon called Avatar: The Last Airbender. The show ran around sixty episodes over a span of a few years. I mention this because the film tries to take a large portion of the show and condense it into a two hour time slot.
The script is horribly atrocious, with the characters talking and talking through every scene as the plot itself slowly drags along. Having seen the show its based on, I could somewhat make out what was trying to happen in the film. However the film is just so boring who really wants to put that work into it.
The film is riddled with actors given what is obviously very little direction, making for one boring film all the way through. There were a couple of performances that weren’t terrible, but overall I could not believe just how stiff and emotionless the acting was.
The special effects are decent, which is probably the only redeemable quality of this film. However the directing gets in the way of experiencing the effects fully. The cameraman does so many tracking shots around the characters during action scenes it takes away from actually experiencing the effects of the fighting. Action scenes get ridiculously slowed down to the point where I felt restricted in my ability to focus on what’s happening on camera.
The Last Airbender is an interesting little film that is fun for me to analyze and question, “What exactly went wrong here?”. It is very easy to just blame the director Shyamalan for the woes of this production, but I feel the true answer goes a lot deeper. This film is hated by most audiences, most fans of the original show, and is too boring for small children to enjoy. I guess you can say there are few individuals who actually enjoy The Last Airbender. I would recommend that people just watch the show Avatar: The Last Airbender and try to avoid this film.
The Verdict: F